Blackbird Interactive

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Blackbird Interactive
IndustryVideo games
HeadquartersVancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Key people
Rob Cunningham, CEO
Yossarian King, CTO
Jon Aaron Kambeitz, CCO
Eric Torin, COO
ProductsHomeworld: Deserts of Kharak

Blackbird Interactive is a Canadian video game development studio based in Vancouver, British Columbia.


Blackbird was founded in 2007 by former members of Relic Entertainment and EA Canada. CEO Rob Cunningham and chief creative officer Jon Aaron Kambeitz had also been founding members of Relic, and had been on the development team for the 1999 RTS Homeworld and its 2003 sequel, Homeworld 2.[1] In 2010, after beginning operations, Blackbird began working on a game they considered a "spiritual successor" to Homeworld, entitled Hardware: Shipbreakers. The studio entered into negotiations with THQ, which controlled Relic, for adapting their original game into a Homeworld game, but were unable to secure access to the intellectual property.[2]

THQ went bankrupt in April 2013, and sold off its assets at auction. Blackbird and Gearbox Software were among the bidders for the IP rights to Homeworld; Gearbox won the auction at $1.35 million.[3] Gearbox allowed Blackbird to use the Homeworld IP and invested in the Hardware: Shipbreakers project, which was renamed Homeworld: Shipbreakers in September 2013.[2][4] In December 2015, it was officially announced for release as Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak; it was released on January 20, 2016.[5]

In February 2017, Blackbird announced a collaboration with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory[6] to create Project Eagle, an interactive art model of a base on Mars to be demonstrated live on stage at the 2017 D.I.C.E. Summit.[7]

In August 2019, Blackbird announced that it had begun development of a new Homeworld title, Homeworld 3, as a direct sequel to Homeworld 2 released in 2003.[8] As of the announcement date, the game was still in pre-production stages, and a tentative release date of late 2022 was given. Many key developers of the first two Homeworld games will return to lead the development of Homeworld 3, including Blackbird CEO Rob Cunningham and Homeworld soundtrack composer Paul Ruskay.[9]

In November 2019, Blackbird announced that it had been involved in the development of Minecraft Earth.[10]

Blackbird revived the Shipbreaker name and concept with the space salvage simulator Hardspace: Shipbreaker, which was released in early access on June 16, 2020.[11]

From September to December 2021, Blackbird trialed the four-day work week with two of its teams, one of which was the team behind Shipbreaker. The trial was a success, with the majority of developers surveyed stating that it improved their work-life balance, wellness, and ability to complete work. [12] The studio intends to implement the four-day work week across all of its teams, beginning in April 2022.[13]

Games developed[edit]

Year Title Publisher Platform(s) Note(s)
2016 Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak Gearbox Software Microsoft Windows, OS X Spin-off to the Homeworld series
2018 Project Eagle Blackbird Interactive Microsoft Windows
2019 Minecraft Earth Xbox Game Studios Android, iOS, iPadOS Assisted Mojang Studios
Hardspace: Shipbreaker Focus Entertainment Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One Released via early access in 2020
Crossfire: Legion Prime Matter Microsoft Windows
2023 Minecraft Legends Xbox Game Studios Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch Developed along with Mojang Studios.
Homeworld 3 Gearbox Software Microsoft Windows


  1. ^ "Team - Blackbird Interactive". Archived from the original on 2016-01-23. Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  2. ^ a b Williams, Mike (2013-09-02). "Gearbox had "no clear path" for Homeworld IP". Retrieved 2013-09-07.
  3. ^ Sliwinski, Alexander (2013-04-22). "THQ auction results: Nordic Games takes Darksiders, Red Faction; 505 Games is Drawn to Life". Joystiq. AOL. Archived from the original on 2015-01-31. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
  4. ^ Goldfarb, Andrew (2013-09-02). "PAX: Homeworld: Shipbreakers Announced - Blackbird Interactive's spiritual successor will become part of the franchise instead". Retrieved 2013-09-07. Blackbird was previously developing the game as a spiritual successor to Homeworld with the title Hardware: Shipbreakers, but Gearbox confirmed today that it will now be released as part of the franchise instead, and Gearbox will provide financial support to make sure the game can be completed and achieve Blackbird's vision.
  5. ^ Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak Announced - IGN
  6. ^ "Project Eagle in collaboration with NASA". 5 December 2018.
  8. ^ Plunkett, Luke (August 30, 2019). "Homeworld 3 Is Coming, Hell Yes". Kotaku. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  9. ^ "Homeworld 3 Crowdfunding Campaign". Fig. Retrieved 2021-03-14.
  10. ^ @InsideBBI (1 November 2019). "Proud to celebrate the arrival of @MinecraftEarth here in Canada. Honoured and delighted to have helped in its deve…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  11. ^ Chalk, Andy (20 April 2020). "Hardspace: Shipbreaker, a game about the horrors of blue-collar work in space, is coming in June". PC Gamer. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  12. ^ "A video game studio moved to a four-day workweek. It 'saved us,' employees say". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2022-03-01.
  13. ^ "Blackbird Interactive To Implement Four-day Work Week". 2022-02-11. Retrieved 2022-03-01.

External links[edit]